CLEVELAND — As the new year begins, COVID-19 remains a concern in Northeast Ohio, so much so that health experts are once again urging extra precautions for some residents.
According to new numbers released Thursday, Erie, Huron, Lorain, Mahoning, and Trumbull counties are once again at the CDC's "high" community level for the coronavirus. This means people in those areas should wear face masks while indoors and in public, according to the center's guidelines.
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To meet the high threshold, counties must either see at least 20 new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 residents in a given week or a combination of both 200 new cases and 10 new hospitalizations per capita. Currently, all five of the aforementioned counties are in the "orange" zone by virtue of a high number of hospitalizations, with Huron and Lorain only today joining the other three spots that had already been high for the last couple of weeks.
The numbers are as follows:
- Erie: 175.05 cases per 100K, 20.8 new hospitalizations
- Huron: 132.15 cases per 100K, 20.8 new hospitalizations
- Lorain: 138.46 cases per 100K, 20.8 new hospitalizations
- Mahoning: 105.39 cases per 100K, 26.5 new hospitalizations
- Trumbull: 87.89 cases per 100K, 26.5 new hospitalizations
All of Northeast Ohio's other counties are at a "medium" level, including Cuyahoga County with 126.96 new cases and 19.6 new hospitalizations per capita (putting it close to "high"). Experts say those in "yellow" zones may want to think about masking if either they or someone they regularly interact with is immunocompromised.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine did not enact any new mask or health mandates all previous times counties went "orange" (partly due to a controversial new law limiting his pandemic powers), and is unlikely to do so this time. However, private businesses and establishments across the state are still largely free to enact their own policies.
The state of Ohio reported more than 13,000 new coronavirus cases Thursday, up slightly from the week before.